Over the last 29 years I’ve experienced, been witness to, and unfortunately drank the kool-aid (though, thankfully only momentarily) and once aligned myself with both ideological extremes regarding sex, relationships, and love. The one side wants to make you believe that it’s sinful, and evil, and something to stay away from entirely (until you get married and then it’s magically beautiful and a gift from God) while the secular side is feeding us this rhetoric of almost benign and meaningless activity that humans engage in whenever they feel horny and (at 29, to me, in my life) I feel as though both sides are misrepresenting what intimacy and sex and love should be. I was engaged very early and the experience left me disillusioned and bitter and cynical. (While not fully committing in my mind, if I’m honest with my self) I really wanted to believe in the “love and sex are imagined concepts to sell products” idea, (and in hindsight I realize that was because I WANTED it to be the case so I could numb myself from future hurt) so I leapt onto the pendulum bob and I swung across to the other side where I experienced the other side of hurt; disconnectedness. In my mind (though I tried to remain outwardly disinterested and aloof) I was still attaching myself to my sexual partner. I was trying to surpress the need in myself for a meaningful connection and in a lot of cases I projected onto my sexual partners a connection and love that wasn’t real but I’d convinced myself it was. (And I tried to convince others that that’s the way that I felt in a kind of feigned macho disregard that I’d felt obligated as a 20-something male was expected to react) And then, when the physical relationship ran it’s course and I finally did learn that the other end of the connection experienced sex with so little emotion and attachment, that too hurt me. I rode the oscillation of the pendulum to both extremes and both had left me hurt and disconnected. At 29, where I’m at now (and of course this may grow, alter, and shift with more experience and maturity) but I think there needs to be a more moderate concept of sex and love. Keep the love, intimacy, vulnerability, and connection that the religious end supports, but drop the negativity, guilt, and sinful connotations that surround sex. We should drop the idea that one person has one kind of love for someone and then you must never have that feeling for anyone else and if you do that’s cheating. Although, that being said, we should also drop the idea that sex is meaningless and if it feels good do it. In my opinion, sex should not be a disconnected, recreational thing that you engage in with people you’ll never see again. In my life, I want sex to be meaningful, respectful, and desired equally for both partners. I’ve learned in my experience, that I want someone to have sex with ME, I don’t want someone who wants to have sex. Now I may be generalizing and saying that because I think this this is a good idea. But I’m just one person. You can agree or you can disagree, but to me, I no longer want to feel disconnected from such a spiritual, interconnected, and emotional experience and disregard it as “just sex”. What do you think?
I feel like I’m not allowed to be. I think of all the others not allowed to be:
the artists, the philosophers, the scientists, the healers, all dismissively abandoned.
Imprisoned in our corporate purgatory, waiting for the coveted big break we are
so regularly promised. Pacified. Encouraged. Enticed. Maybe the lottery. Maybe the internet. If you fail it’s only because you didn’t try hard enough. That flaccid promise of
happiness slaps us in the face. Just keep your head down. Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t rock the boat. Someday your big break will come. Saturday morning cartoons told you how special and important you are. Television wouldn’t lie to you. You will all be rich. You will all be famous. Just be patient. And buy this product. Not that one! No, really. If you buy that one they’ll know you’re poor. Know you’re inferior. Can’t afford it? Hmmm. We have something for you. If you can’t buy this piece of hard plastic will work. Great! Now that you’ve purchased that superior product, from that superior corporation, you’re now on this rung of the ladder. (Almost there!) You don’t wanna go back down the ladder, right? So you’ll need this product! No NO!! Not that one. Jesus. That sends the totally wrong message that you want other to see!! Do you want people to see just how inferior you actually are? No one will love you. No one will accept you. You need this!! From THIS company! Have we taught you nothing? God, you’re stupid! Hmmm, still can’t pay? Oh, you only have a part-time job ’cause your employer discovered that if you have lots of part-time workers instead of fewer full-time workers it works out better for the people at the top? Hmmm, well, you still have that card right? Good. Oh, rent … utilities …. oh yah, food. Well, hey, that card works for all those places. And they have lots of places you can just drive up to and they just give you a full meal. You don’t even have to learn how to cook! How convenient is that! AND most of them are open 24 hours! Hmmm, unhappy? … let’s see …. take two of these in the morning. One of these at lunch. Oh, and don’t mix this with this. Drink this! We like when you drink it. You like when you drink it. It’s the way everyone relaxes on the weekend after a hard week of 9-5. (Oh, wait, yah, you’re part-time) well, whatever, more time for you to drink. Oh, but don’t smoke that. We’ll arrest you if you do! We don’t make any money when you smoke that. So drink this! This is better anyway. And people will have sex with you and you’ll have more friends and do amazing fun and adventurous things. You should know this already? I thought you watch TV? Speaking of which you’re missing your favourite show! You like that one? How about this one? This one is like the one you like! And this one too. It really keeps your attention (and keeps you watching which products you need to buy if you want to be accepted) Oh, you’re sick … hmmm, well, try a little harder. You’re almost at the top rung. Happiness is right there. Don’t quit while you’re so close!! Oh, um, by the way, you haven’t been making minimum payments on that card. The balance is getting pretty high… what? Um, well then you shouldn’t have bought so many things if you didn’t have the money. That’s your fault for being so bad with managing your money. You loser. Jeez, you’re the reason the economy is in such bad shape. You’re ruining it for the rest of us. God! Still sick? Hmmm, yah, I’m sorry but that not really my problem. You’re gonna have to sort that out yourself. Okay, this is too much you pathetic loser. We’re coming to take back the stuff you can’t afford. Why did you get it if you couldn’t afford it. Man, you’re just the worst kind of person. Wanna have a drink? We have light now so that you don’t become fat. Fat AND poor and unemployed? Wow, dude, you’re useless to me now. Fuck off.
Think of all the works of art, all the profound thoughts, all the scientific breakthroughs, all the connectedness, and love, and growth that we are missing out on. They are deprived of flowering into being by the choking tendrils of poorly constructed, disjointed and unfairly balanced machine who incongruous parts are mashed into place like mismatched puzzle pieces, stolen from many vastly different images that cheat the other from experiencing their own completeness.
But how do we construct a complete image with incompatible parts? The void of dissonance could be filled but is instead being improperly repurposed in a malformed mosaic erected by self-interested architects who short-sightedly beat the misfit pieces into place. Afterward, they pull a tight tarp of propaganda over the jagged and porous surface of the puzzle to deny the awareness of the mosaic’s truth; jagged and discordant. The new image, the one that benefits the architects, lavishes upon itself a narrative of ego masturbation. Through architect approved media, through required acceptance of specific philosophy, they continue to tug, re-shape, and re-tighten their degenerating tarp across the fragmented puzzle pieces. We are all the same! They say. Just keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll all be okay. There’s a new car that the girls are getting wet for! Why not go buy it! You’ll feel better. I promise. The fabricated image stretched out along the skin of the tarp furiously tries to obscure the individual puzzle pieces beneath from seeing their true image. It lures them into believing that they are contributing to an image with an entirely different meaning than the one that exists. Our re-purposed puzzle pieces bend and crack together into an image that benefits only the architects. It leaves the pieces impoverished, waiting for their big break.
They sat silently together on the couch, watching the news. Alex frequently stole short glances over at Nathan who’s sombre default face stared vacantly over at the television screen in front of him. Alex saw the aura of synthetic unreality had come to envelop Nathan as well.
What’s the point? Alex stared back at the TV. The news anchor was saying something about bike lanes or something about rapid transit but Alex was conscious of the sickly film of dream-like imitation that seeped into all the pockets of matter and imbued them with a profound ersatz.
Neither of them talked about the woman in the apartment next door. They didn’t remind one another that they’d pulled her out of the ground. They didn’t talk about the time traveling drug box that had been the catalyst of their existential collapse. They didn’t talk about Seth’s suicide.
Both Nathan and Alex were numb. Death seemed to be constantly present in their awareness and their lives had taken on a subdued, unimportance that left them both lethargic and detached.
Alex had separated himself so much that he no longer believed any of it was actually happening. Everything he experienced exuded an artificial and illusory glow that seemed to emphasize how fabricated and immaterial this version of reality was when pressed against the unknowable other world from which he now believed was the source of his consciousness. It seemed like some unreal inner fantasy that he was watching unfold, emotionlessly, detachedly. The contrast was so emphasized in his mind that it would’ve been comical if it weren’t so wholly and cripplingly terrifying.
He wasn’t eating. He wasn’t really sleeping. He even stopped going to work. They just sat in the apartment, staring at the television.
Well, he was. He could only be sure that he was actually sitting at the television. Alex’s anxious thoughts had made him so discouragingly isolated that almost every moment was spent acutely aware of the division of his body and the impenetrable barrier of the material beyond.
The dishearteningly persistent feeling of déjà vu re-emerged, clasping tightly the once limp and meandering attention for control of Alex’s conscious awareness. Although this time it was paired with a kind of parallel memory that swatted menacingly as it tried to infect his mind; to insert a memory he knew couldn’t have ever truly had. And yet, still, he was sure it had. He remembered he was in a living room.
My living room! In that brief fraction of momentary memory Alex felt unwaveringly confident that it was absurd to even consider the memory as being illegitimate; impossibly absurd. Of course it’s my living room!
Alex’s thought seemed to stutter and flash around jerkily as the awareness that the separate memory was also irrefutably true.
In this other memory that couldn’t have ever happened, yet had, Alex was sitting with Seth. He was aware of that same feeling of utter disconnection from his experience and the reality that was the medium of that experience. He was massaging his wife’s shoulders and . . .
He battled with his equally unwavering confidence that he did not own a home, but instead co-rented an apartment with his roommate Nathan. A roommate who, until that instantly preceding moment, Alex was fully convinced existed only in the impenetrable state of artificial otherness. He’d acknowledge in that moment that there was another Alex; an Alex with a dramatically different life. The other Alex had also come to that same discovery of the otherness. Both were considering if reality was one solid substance through which each separate Alex navigated.
A bright, nauseating flush of déjà vu crashed on top of Alex again and he could feel his throat tightening.
The grating dissonance of the two alternate memories crackled with an ominous potential energy. As the conflicting memories jostled for supremacy, superimposed over a single point in his brain, Alex began feel dizzy. He feared the awareness of the reality collapsing paradox. The growing intensity of the two opposing sides cast off brilliant sparks that burst soundlessly about the room.
Most of him was fearful, though part of him was anxiously anticipating the collapse of reality. Pleading for it.
There was a jolt of a feeling his static filled mind tried to label and quantify.
An acceptance, or a connectedness . . .
Alex was too busy trying to latch on to the rediscovery of feeling to accurately describe what it was. He’d already accepted that those feelings would remain unceasingly absent for the rest of his life. Their unexpected rediscovery caused his body to convulse in another warm spasm of bright, protective, wholeness. The filter of synthetic unreality through which Alex had once viewed himself and his surroundings, began to disintegrate and dissolve away. Every atom in the room seemed somewhat brighter, as if each light were casting off a subtle glow of serenity and purpose.
Nathan was still staring at the television expressionlessly.
Everything looked different. He knew he couldn’t put it all together in that moment, but something bright, something good, something benevolent had revealed to him the knowledge of an unalienable connectedness that exists between everything. A connectedness that while at some times feels illusive is always present and persisting eternally inside every atom.
He found that he was holding his breath and he exhaled loudly and kind of coughed. Nathan didn’t seem to notice.
Alex knew that his newly acquired knowledge was frustratingly fragmented in terms of the larger understanding of the exact mechanism of the connectedness, but something told him that when he needed to know, the universe would enlighten him.
The newscaster threw to a commercial and Nathan hit the mute button.
“I fucking hate commercials,” Nathan was still staring expressionlessly at the sequential flashing of the quickly rotating still images that soundlessly bled together. Alex was conscious of every one of the individual thirty frames in every second that flashed by. Time slowed and Alex became aware of the connectedness of everything that had been captured inside the single, still image. The position of everything inside the individual frame: the placement of the actors, the lights, the colour of the countertop, the font choice for the logo the ad was attempting to coax the viewer into purchasing, it was all one.
When the news came back on, Nathan still had the TV muted but Alex immediately recognized the picture of the woman.
Under the woman’s picture was a police hotline phone number.
Wanted in connection with weekend homicide.
“Turn it up!”
“-lp in finding information into the shooting death of building superintendent Jacob Phillips this past weekend,” the newscaster said as the image cut to an establishing shot of the outside of their building.
Alex’s eyes began to burn and he realized he had no idea when he’d last blinked. He’d been so disconnected that he didn’t even know about Jake.
Does death follow me? Or do I follow it?
“Police are trying to locate a woman whom sources say shared an apartment with Phillips. During the course of the homicide investigation authorities discovered the building’s basement was being used as a marijuana grow op. Right now it is unclear whether or not the homicide is connected with the basement grow op although, it is alleged that Mr. Phillips has past ties to gang activity stemming as far back as the 1980s.”
“Holy fuck,” Nathan reached over and grabbed the pipe and began filling another bowl.
Alex felt the full immediacy of reality as his awareness of the present moment expand. There was more of reality than he’d ever been aware of before. He was part of something larger. Something important. And he began to feel something that had been ripped from him long ago.
Watch these two videos and then watch Ouroboros. Augmented Reality glasses … video games we can take with us anywhere … it’s only a matter of time before we start creating worlds to jack ourselves into ….. and thus: Ouroboros.
Google Augmented Reality Glasses
Playstation Vita – “Never Stop Playing”
And my short film – Ouroboros Season One
Via Fast Company
If you’re like most people I work with in companies, the demands come at you from every angle, all day long, and you have to make difficult decisions without much time to think about them. What enduring principles can you rely on to make choices that reflect openness, integrity and authenticity?
Here are ten that work for me:
1. Always challenge certainty, especially your own. When you think you’re undeniably right, ask yourself “What might I be missing here?” If we could truly figure it all out, what else would there be left to do?
2. Excellence is an unrelenting struggle, but it’s also the surest route to enduring satisfaction. Amy Chua, the over-the-top “Tiger Mother,” was right that there’s no shortcut to excellence. Getting there requires practicing deliberately, delaying gratification, and forever challenging your current comfort zone.
3. Emotions are contagious, so it pays to know what you’re feeling. Think of the best boss you ever had. How did he or she make you feel? That’s the way you want to make others feel.
4. When in doubt, ask yourself, “How would I behave here at my best?” We know instinctively what it means to do the right thing, even when we’re inclined to do the opposite. If you find it impossible, in a challenging moment, to envision how you’d behave at your best, try imagining how someone you admire would respond.
5. If you do what you love, the money may or may not follow, but you’ll love what you do. It’s magical thinking to assume you’ll be rewarded with riches for following your heart. What it will give you is a richer life. If material riches don’t follow, and you decide they’re important, there’s always time for Plan B.
6. You need less than you think you do. All your life, you’ve been led to believe that more is better, and that whatever you have isn’t enough. It’s a prescription for disappointment. Instead ask yourself this: How much of what you already have truly adds value in your life? What could you do without?
7. Accept yourself exactly as you are but never stop trying to learn and grow. One without the other just doesn’t cut it. The first, by itself, leads to complacency, the second to self-flagellation. The paradoxical trick is to embrace these opposites, using self-acceptance as an antidote to fear and as a cushion in the face of setbacks.
8. Meaning isn’t something you discover, it’s something you create, one step at a time. Meaning is derived from finding a way to express your unique skills and passion in the service of something larger than yourself. Figuring out how best to contribute is a lifelong challenge, reborn every day.
9. You can’t change what you don’t notice and not noticing won’t make it go away. Each of us has an infinite capacity for self-deception. To avoid pain, we rationalize, minimize, deny, and go numb. The antidote is the willingness to look at yourself with unsparing honesty, and to hold yourself accountable to the person you want to be.
10. When in doubt, take responsibility. It’s called being a true adult.
Reprinted from Harvard Business Review
Tony Schwartz is President and CEO of The Energy Project, a company that helps individuals and organizations fuel energy, engagement, focus, and productivity by harnessing the science of high performance. Tony’s most recent book, Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work and Live?, is a The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Follow him on Twitter @TonySchwartz.
The episode blows your mind immediately as you begin watching it. Doc is talking to his dog, Sprocket, about time travel. “Wouldn’t it be fun to travel in time? Of course you wouldn’t go anywhere because the past and the future are happening here and now in the present. It’s all a question of perception. I thought dogs knew stuff like that.”
They made a model of a time machine and Doc suggests trying it out. So he stuffs Sprocket in and locks him inside. Then he begins to shake the machine and says: “and now to press the button to the not so distant future.” But then he leaves. He grabs his hat and leaves with Sprocket still locked in the time machine only to return a few moments later dressed as an old man! He unlocks Sprocket from time machine and says: “Sprocket, where have you been all these years?” Wow, way to mess with Sprocket’s mind!
The story revolves around Mokey who’s putting on a play she wrote called ‘the legend of Bloomdig’; she plays Bloomdig. It’s about a great leader, Bloomdig, who was some sort of deity who “appeared out of nowhere”. Bloomdig lived in a time where everyone was bald and “anyone with hair was instantly banished.”
“Better bald than banished,” quips Wembley
Mokey, Boober, and Wembley are rehearsing in the cave in which Bloomdig supposedly appeared out of nothing. She makes them wear hats, because the ancient bald Fraggles needed to wear hats. (Makes sense. They needed something to cover their heads, and it sure as hell couldn’t be hair!)
We learn an important fact about Mokey in this episode: she’s a method actor. She has to go to the Sacred Cave to rehearse, and when Boober expresses his anxiousness about being in the Sacred Cave, Mokey responds: “Mokey? Who’s Mokey? I am Bloomdig, great and wondrous leader of the Fraggles who were Bald.” Another thing we learn is that Fraggles call their ancestors Fraggles who were Bald.
Boober finds a “mysterious and somehow familiar” painting of a Fraggle, which appears on one of the cave walls. Weirdly enough, the Fraggle was depicted with hair. Mokey immediately dismisses it. “Wembley, this is no time for ferburps.” *I assume that’s Fragglian for: nonsense.
Obviously the word is archaic and Wembley has no idea what she’s saying.
“Bloomdig lives in a time where Fraggles were bald, she talked funny,” which I found amusing remembering my first encounters with Shakespeare and Chaucer, and I’m sure if I knew Latin or Greek the same would be true for Homer and Socrates. For Henson to include such concepts is why he’s my favourite storyteller! It makes you believe that they have their own Fraggle society that’s been going on for a very long period of time.
So I have some friends on Blogger and I wanted to follow them. I entered my gmail information and it popped up as “Seth Hume”. And it caught me off guard, but then I remembered that in July of last year I started a blog on Blogger (and obviously I used it a lot since I totally forgot about it.) But it was supposed to be a blog about the then fictional lead singer of my band “Grey Spade”. I didn’t think Joel Nickel was a cool enough name for a glitch/industrial frontman, so I created Seth Hume. (Seth after Set the Egyptian God of Destruction and Chaos, and Hume as in David Hume the Philosopher, and Desmond from LOST) I envisioned “Grey Spade” to be more of something I could disassociate my real self from and create something completely different. But now I like me. 😉 So I’M the lead singer of Grey Spade (even though I haven’t posted any songs with vocals yet, there are songs with vocals. I’ve just been showing pieces from the Ouroboros – Original Score which don’t.) Anyway … sorry, this explanation is getting long … I had begun writing blogs in the mindset of a fictional Seth Hume and here is one of them about Sex and the City 2! 🙂
So I’m still adjusting to not launching onto the stage every night and I found myself quite bored today. I don’t usually watch a whole lot of television, and when I do I watch things like Discovery Civilization, PBS or the Comedy Network but since not a whole lot was on today I found myself watching the View. 😦 I was horrified to find that the Sex and the City 2 cast were guest starring and they were talking about the costume budget for the film was 10 million dollars…10 with six zeroes behind it! That’s fucking insane…for clothes. They went through various outfits and explained how much they cost and there was this one god-awful skirt that I thought was hideous but turned out to be 10 Grand! Come on people, this is fabric and thread! There are people dying in 3rd world countries because they can’t afford to eat; and these guys pay 10 Grand for a single, ugly skirt.
So my adventures in what passes for entertainment these days did not end there. I was flipping through channels and I landed upon the Bachelorette. I have never watched any of the Bachelor or the Bachelorette shows but I know how it works, with the Rose Ceremony and all that mush, which is exactly where I came in at. This plastic, vapid woman is standing in front of this pedestal with a bunch of roses and looking all contemplative and then lists off the names of the people who still “have an opportunity to date her”. Urgh, all of it screamed insincerity. And then they had an update of a past Bachelor/Bachelorette couple who had broken up and were “talking for the first time about their separation!” That’s when I turned the channel.
What the hell is going on? Has our society become so…soulless and superficial?
On the tour bus about a month ago I read an article about how reality television and mass-media in general is making our society more inclined to regard exaggerated emotions as normal. (If I can find a link to the article I’ll post it for you.)
A prime example of this is the media’s reaction to Obama’s lack of reaction to the BP oil spill. “He’s not angry enough” “How can we trust a man who plays it so cool?”
Do you really want a commander-in-chief who flies off the handle and shows exaggerated emotion? Wouldn’t you rather have a leader who was calm and collected under pressure and who acted rather than reacted? Or maybe it’s just me.